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X-Men

X-Men

What She said:

She

It pains me to admit this, but when this movie came out I was still in high school.  Scary, I know.  It seems like just yesterday director Bryan Singer was introducing us to this exceptional hodge-podge of superheroes.

The X-Men are gifted people.  Not because of their extraordinary IQs—they don’t necessarily have that—but due to a genetic mutation that has caused them to have powers beyond what a normal person would have.  And each one of them has a different type of power.  There’s one that can walk through walls, another that can read minds, one that can move things telekinetically, and one that can control the weather.  And then there’s the oh so special Wolverine.  His special power is that he can heal himself aka he’s hard to kill.  He was also part of some lab experiment where his entire body was reinforced with adamantium, an indestructible alloy, and he was given metal claws.  So basically, you don’t want to mess with him.

The movie follows these super-humans as they deal with arising political issues related to mutants within society, and a growing threat from the vengeful Magneto.  Magneto is on a quest to make all humans just like mutants, because he’s sick of being prejudiced against.  The X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier, need to stop Magneto, save mankind, and prove that they really do want the best for both man and mutant. 

X-Men is a fun action movie that was at the leading edge of the superhero craze that still continues today.  There has since been a second and third movie in the series, plus a Wolverine origins story (which was quite bad, by the way).  And 2011 brought the reimagining of the series in the prequel, X-Men: First Class.  It’s nice to know the solid foundations upon which the whole movie franchise was built.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

This is the one that started it all. No, it wasn’t the first comic book movie ever made. But it was the first one in years that got any respect. None since the early Chrstopher Reeves Superman movies were any taken seriously. This movie put the genre back on the map and in this movie reviewer’s opinion is why the genre is still thriving over a decade after its release. Prior to that superhero movies were just kind of something that happened every once and a while. Now, it would seem the genre is here to stay.

The X-Men has been one of the most popular comic book series for quite some time. That is because at its heart, it’s about racism and other forms of discrimination. Mutants (the people with powers in the X-Men universe) are ridiculed and even targeted for being different. That and the X-Men has always been one of the more dramatic comic book series. Some of the characters have history with one another and others have more issues than I do underwear.

Leading the way are Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen). They are old friends, but on the opposite sides of the fence when it comes to human/mutant relations. Xavier – also known as Professor X – seeks to create a harmony between the two humanoid species. Magneto harbors resentment towards humanity. He views mutants as superior to humans. That and he was a prisoner in a concentration camp as a child, so he’s a bit of a misanthrope to begin with. Each leader has their own group of followers.

Marie (AKA Rogue) is a young lady who has recently discovered that she is a mutant. She runs away from home, hoping to find some kind of refuge. She tags along with Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) – who might just be the baddest man alive – and they soon find themselves shacked up with Professor X and his group of do-gooders (Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey). They are always there to stop Magneto and his cronies.

Despite still remaining friends on some level, Professor X and Magneto have been at odds for some time. Only now, Professor X knows his old friend is up to something big. Magneto is making a play for power and Professor X simply refuses to let him hurt any innocent people; human or mutant.

Director Brian Singer really goes to great lengths to make this a solid movie and not just some “comic book flick”. We all loved Superman growing up, but let’s face it those movies are very light by comparison.

That’s not to say there is no humor in X-Men though. Singer does a really nice job portraying the relationship between Wolverine and Cyclops. The relationship between the two is fairly serious in the comics. They are on the same side, but these guys just don’t see eye-to-eye. Make no mistake, they still don't like one another, but he adds some really well-placed humor to the characters.

Speaking of Wolverine, how badass was Hugh Jackman in these early movies? There was some skepticism because he’s significantly taller than the character is supposed to be – which is part of what shapes his personality – but it all works out in the end. He really does look and act like a live version of the character so many of us read about in comics growing up.

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are also excellent. Like Jackman, they make you believe they are the character’s you knew growing up. Working with characters that already have a pretty extensive history can be challenging; especially when those characters are one’s that nerds will pick apart if they don’t like how they are portrayed. But these two live up to the task in a big way.

One thing I have to throw in is having seen this after seeing X-Men: First Class a few months ago, I noticed a few minor plotholes. It’s not anything major, but if you are paying attention you can pick up on it. Both are still fantastic movies though.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 9, 2012

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